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  • pivalde pivalde Apr 17, 2013 4:01 PM Flag

    Iron in brain and memory

    This is 1.5y old paper, may be it has been posted earlier but when waiting the HD study results this may be interesting:
    Bartzokis et al: Brain iron increases with age and is abnormally elevated early in the disease process in several neurodegenerative disorders that impact memory including Alzheimer's disease (AD). Higher brain iron levels are associated with male gender and presence of highly prevalent allelic variants in genes encoding for iron metabolism proteins (hemochromatosis H63D (HFE H63D) and transferrin C2 (TfC2)). In this study, we examined whether in healthy older individuals memory performance is associated with increased brain iron, and whether gender and gene variant carrier (IRON+) vs noncarrier (IRON−) status (for HFE H63D/TfC2) modify the associations. Tissue iron deposited in ferritin molecules can be measured in vivo with magnetic resonance imaging utilizing the field-dependent relaxation rate increase (FDRI) method. FDRI was assessed in hippocampus, basal ganglia, and white matter, and IRON+ vs IRON− status was determined in a cohort of 63 healthy older individuals. Three cognitive domains were assessed: verbal memory (delayed recall), working memory/attention, and processing speed. Independent of gene status, worse verbal-memory performance was associated with higher hippocampal iron in men (r=−0.50, p=0.003) but not in women. Independent of gender, worse verbal working memory performance was associated with higher basal ganglia iron in IRON− group (r=−0.49, p=0.005) but not in the IRON+ group. Between-group interactions (p=0.006) were noted for both of these associations. No significant associations with white matter or processing speed were observed. The results suggest that in specific subgroups of healthy older individuals, higher accumulations of iron in vulnerable gray matter regions may adversely impact memory functions and could represent a risk factor for accelerated cognitive decline. Combining genetic and MRI biomarkers may provide

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    • This paper is free in the pubmed: Gender and Iron Genes May Modify Associations Between Brain Iron and Memory in Healthy Aging. If you compare these results with the results of Rosas in HD population there are similarities, it is the accumulation of iron in the basal ganglia. Rosas:"In the basal ganglia, progressive increases in the phase evolution were found in HD, beginning in premanifest individuals who were far from expected onset and increasing with proximity to expected onset and thereafter. Increases in the cerebral cortex were regionally selective and present only in symptomatic HD. Increases were verified by excessive deposition of brain iron, but a complex alteration in other transition metals was found".
      Metal balance and memory are connected both in healthy normals and in HD.

      • 1 Reply to pivalde
      • 10 day ago I posted a paper by Daugherty A, Raz N.: Accumulation of non-heme iron in the brain has been proposed as a biomarker of the progressive neuroanatomical and cognitive declines in healthy adult aging. Postmortem studies indicate that iron content and lifespan differences therein are regionally specific, with a predilection for the basal ganglia. However, the reported in vivo estimates of adult age differences in iron content within subcortical nuclei are highly variable. We present a meta-analysis of 20 in vivo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies that estimated iron content in the caudate nucleus, globus pallidus, putamen, red nucleus, and substantia nigra. The results of the analyses support a robust association between advanced age and high iron content in the substantia nigra and striatum, with a smaller effect noted in the globus pallidus. The magnitude of age differences in estimated iron content of the caudate nucleus and putamen partially depended on the method of estimation, but not on the type of design (continuous age vs. extreme age groups).

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